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'Forcing' Vegan Food on Guests
My husband and I have had a disagreement. He says he does not feel comfortable inviting nonvegan business associates over to our house for meals because he would feel like he was ďimposing a religionĒ on them. He says that not being able to have them over is detrimental from a business point of view. I told him, as you said in one of your archived answers, that good food is good food, whether or not it contains animal products, but he insists that he simply cannot have anyone over and expect them to eat a vegan meal. My home is my only haven; itís the only place where I donít have to endure people eating chunks of animals. I will not debase it by serving meat. Both my husband and I are vegan, but Iím afraid heís doing it only to appease me. He seems ashamed of it and embarrassed to stand up for it. Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated.
It is sad to hear that your relationship is fraying because of veganism, which is intended to be the practical application of compassion, even though it is having opposite results in your household. Your situation demonstrates that in order for people to be committed to a particular behavior or way of life, it must be one that is chosen willingly and without coercion. Only then can we accept our choices, be proud of them, feel confident, and not be concerned whether others accept them as we do.
Copyright © 1998-2014 by Jo Stepaniak
All rights reserved.
You are right that your home should be your haven. Our homes are one of the few places where we can shed our social facades and be ourselves without pretense. Both you and your husband need to feel safe in your home, not judged. At the same time, you should not be required to compromise your values or do something that is repugnant to you.
Most people donít care, and often donít know, that they are eating plant-based foods when the dishes are prepared well and taste delicious. In fact, many signature recipes from various cuisines are naturally vegan, but we wouldnít know or think about that fact unless someone pointed it out to us. Your husband is projecting his assumptions about what he imagines his business associates would think, even though this isnít based on actual feedback from visitors to your home. Itís your husbandís imaginings stemming from his own insecurities, either about himself or his concern about what others think of him. There is no reason at all that dinner guests even need to be told they will be dining on a vegan meal.
It is unfair and disrespectful of your husband to pressure you to serve meat in your home. If he is worried about what others think of him, he needs to revaluate his reasons for being vegan, as well as take a hard look at his commitment to you, your marriage, and your shared values and home. Jobs and business associates will come and go over the years, but marriage is for a lifetime. If your husband truly believes that his business associates will have a poor opinion of him because there isnít a hunk of flesh on their plates when they have dinner at your house, he can invite them to your home for drinks and then take them out to a restaurant. Marriage requires compromise, and eating out with business associates may be the best middle ground for both of you. However, a sound marriage based on love and respect should never demand a compromise of values.
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